Prologue

Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord and Christ,
the High Priest of the New and Everlasting Covenant.
He has offered, once for all, a sacrifice to forgive sins,
and lives forever at the right hand of the Father.
He has breathed forth the Spirit to constitute his Church,
and he commissions his disciples to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth,
to transform the world from within like leaven.

Continually, through Church and sacrament,
he unites these disciples to his passion and glory.
Thus he consecrates them as a universal, a royal priesthood.
He enables them to accomplish—in works, prayers and undertakings,
in economy, politics and culture, in family and married life,
in relaxation of mind and body—a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to the Father,
ordering all of creation to the praise of God.

With a brother's love, the same Christ chooses men
from the people he has made his own.
He invites them to mold their lives more closely on the mystery of his cross.
By the laying on of hands and the gift of the Spirit, he appoints them to carry out
a priestly service in his name: to lead his people in love,
to nourish them by his word, to set before his family the paschal meal—
renewing within his Church the sacrifice of forgiveness.

This, the order of his priests, he signs with a special character,
distinct among charisms in essence not merely by degree.
For he, the Head of the Body, the Shepherd of the Flock, the Spouse of the Church,
configures his priests to himself, to act in his person in the midst of the assembly,
teaching, hallowing, and shepherding.
Thus in minister, Gospel, and Church,
in the broken bread that is his Body and the outpoured wine that is his Blood,
in service cheerfully rendered and shared, Christ lives in the heart of his people.
He alone is holy, and he makes us holy in turn. May his name be praised.

Continue to the Statement of Purpose »